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The Celtics can't seem to shake the trend of members of their starting lineup being late scratches.

Marcus Smart and Robert Williams were ruled out less than two hours before tip-off for several games against the Bucks last round. About two-and-a-half hours before Game 1 vs. the Heat, Smart (right mid-foot sprain) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) were no longer available for the series opener.

Now, with Game 3 against Miami less than an hour-and-a-half away, Williams, who, Friday earned a spot on the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team, is out for Saturday's matchup.

Earlier Saturday, Williams, listed as questionable, got added to Boston's injury report. He's dealing with left knee soreness, something the Celtics were expecting after the Timelord returned from a partial left knee meniscectomy to address a left knee meniscal tear late in the regular season.

Additionally, Williams suffered a bone bruise during Game 3 of Boston's second-round series against Milwaukee. However, a knee scan showed structurally, everything is sound. The issue causing him to miss games is the soreness and pain in his left knee is restricting him movement-wise.

In his pregame media availability before Saturday's matchup, Ime Udoka conveyed Williams experienced soreness and swelling around his knee this morning. He got checked out again pregame to determine whether he could play.

Udoka said the plan is to start Daniel Theis in the Timelord's place if Williams isn't available for Game 3, as is the case. Udoka stated the Celtics want to stay big even if Williams can't play.

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He also expressed, "this keeps Grant (Williams) in his regular role. And we can also have Al play the way we want him to play and keep his same role to start."

As for the Heat, head coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday morning Kyle Lowry (hamstring) and P.J. Tucker (knee) will warm up with the intent to play in Game 3. Lowry missed the first two matchups in this series.

Further Reading

Marcus Smart, Robert Williams Earn NBA All-Defensive Team Selections

A 'Grateful' Al Horford Discusses Getting Cleared for Game 2

What Stood Out from Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics Win Decisively, Tying the Series as it Heads to Boston

For the Celtics to Avoid Going Down 0-2, Here's What they Have to Address

Celtics Quickly Turning the Page to Pivotal Game 2: 'We've just got to come together, correct the mistakes, and be ready to fight'

Jayson Tatum, Celtics Discuss Heat Outscoring Them 39-14 in Third Quarter: 'I've got to lead better, I've got to play better in those moments, and I'm just looking forward to responding'